By Helene Cooper
Journalist Helene Cooper examines the violent earlier of her domestic state Liberia and the consequences of its 1980 army coup during this deeply own memoir and finalist for the 2008 nationwide booklet Critics Circle Award.
Helene Cooper is “Congo,” a descendant of 2 Liberian dynasties—traced again to the 1st send of freemen that set sail from long island in 1820 to stumbled on Monrovia. Helene grew up at Sugar seashore, a twenty-two-room mansion by way of the ocean. Her adolescence was once packed with servants, flashy autos, a villa in Spain, and a farmhouse up-country. It was once additionally an African youth, choked with knock foot video games and sizzling pepper soup, heartmen and neegee. whilst Helene used to be 8, the Coopers took in a foster child—a universal customized one of the Liberian elite. Eunice, a Bassa lady, by surprise turned referred to as “Mrs. Cooper’s daughter.”
For years the Cooper daughters—Helene, her sister Marlene, and Eunice—blissfully loved the trimmings of wealth and virtue. yet Liberia was once like an unwatched pot of water left boiling at the range. And on April 12, 1980, a bunch of squaddies staged a coup d'état, assassinating President William Tolbert and executing his cupboard. The Coopers and the full Congo classification have been now the hunted, being imprisoned, shot, tortured, and raped. After a brutal sunlight assault by means of a ragtag workforce of squaddies, Helene, Marlene, and their mom fled Sugar seashore, after which Liberia, for the USA. They left Eunice behind.
A international away, Helene attempted to assimilate as an American teen. on the college of North Carolina at Chapel Hill she came upon her ardour in journalism, ultimately turning into a reporter for the Wall highway Journal and the New York Times. She mentioned from every little thing of the globe—except Africa—as Liberia descended into war-torn, third-world hell.
In 2003, a near-death adventure in Iraq confident Helene that Liberia—and Eunice—could wait now not. without delay a deeply own memoir and an exam of a violent and stratified kingdom, The condominium at Sugar Beach tells of tragedy, forgiveness, and transcendence with unflinching honesty and a survivor's mild humor. And at its center, it's a tale of Helene Cooper’s lengthy voyage domestic.